Saturday's opponents Middlesbrough will be the first of two big games against north-east opposition for Rovers midfielder.
Doncaster Rovers’ two pre-season friendlies at home to north-east opposition will mean more to club stalwart James Coppinger than most.
The Guisborough-born midfielder will take on his boyhood club, Middlesbrough, and then his first professional club, Newcastle United, as preparation for his twentieth career campaign intensify.
“I’m a Middlesbrough lad and have family that support them,” Coppinger said of the Riverside outfit.
“Sadly my grandad passed away recently, he would have loved to have watched me as he was a season ticket holder for 50 years.
“I think my two boys are going to be mascots for that game though so it will be a great occasion for them.
“Then there’s Newcastle who I spent four years with; they're a massive club.
“One’s in the Premier League now and one’s in the Championship so it’s a case of mixed fortunes but I look forward to playing against them both!”
The 35 year old, who is honing in on a monumental 500 appearances for Rovers, looks to be enjoying an Indian Summer to his career if his stunning 20 yard free-kick against Rossington Main is anything to go by and will look to cement a regular starting spot ahead of new competitors for his place.
“They’ve all come in with an open mind and a positive attitude,” Coppinger said of the signings made by manager Darren Ferguson.
“I enjoy what I do, pre-season is all about getting fit, working hard and the more you put in, and the easier it gets during the season.
“I wouldn’t say it’s getting harder, I’m just recovering well.
“The older you get, the more you enjoy it – it doesn’t last forever.”
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